A Newblette in Space is a weekly series about my adventures in Eve Online. Each week I’ll be rambling about something in the amazing vast space of New Eden that has caught my attention. Feel free to comment, heckle, request topics of discussion, or offer up interesting flames.
I’ve always been fascinated with Eve, but for one reason or another I’ve never actually tried it before. Alright, I’ll admit it, that’s not entirely true. I was scared away by the PvP horror stories that you often hear about it. I began my MMO career as a solid carebear, the thought of PvP was a terrifying, horrifying, scary thing. This was only reinforced by my time in Lineage 2 where I experienced the delights of max level raid-geared griefers who would prowl the newbie lands terrorizing lower level players. And as an altoholic, I was very much a lower level player. I was spawn camped, hunted down, and killed repeatedly by opponents I had no hopes of defeating. I lost countless pieces of gear and who knows how much xp.
But over time, that stance has changed. I’ve discovered that even if you don’t have any interest in PvP – and these days I have come to enjoy it – PvP servers are usually much more friendly places than pve servers. I’ve pondered this off and on, and my ultimate conclusion is that on a pvp server, there are actually consequences to being a dick. You never know if the person you’re aggravating has high level buddies who’ll come kill you for being a jerk. Sure, you get the guys who like spawn camping newbies, but by and large, they are in the minority, and there will often be entire guilds devoted to hunting them down. I mentioned being spawn camped by max level players – but you know, in hindsight, I had more fun in L2 than I’ve had in just about any other game. That thrill of danger made it all the more exciting, and there is nothing quite like the rush of successfully fleeing an adversary who outpowers you – or when you get stubborn and blast back and actually win. Now I actively prefer PvP servers, and open PvP games. So I decided it was time to give Eve a try.
And what timing I had! Eve Inferno 1.2 brought with it a tutorial revamp, to make the game more newbie friendly, and reduce the learning curve. My instinctive response to hearing that anything is being made easier is to weep bitter tears, but in the case of Eve‘s tutorials, they didn’t touch the game itself, or even the missions. They simply updated the hint text. That’s the kind of “nefing” I can get behind. So let’s take a more detailed look.
The first thing I want to say about Eve is – character generation is AMAZING. Well worthy of all caps. I’d put in a million exclamation points if I weren’t a sucker for a clean looking text. everything I’ve ever wanted in character generation – it’s right here. I know that has nothing to do with the tutorials that I said I was about to talk about, but it just had to be said. UNfortunately I forgot to take a screenshot in actual character generation, so this one was taken ingame using the re-customization station and doesn’t have all the options you begin with. But even so, it’s pretty spiff. I opened up a bunch of options for the screenshots, though I should have taken one displaying the body modifications. There’s a separate tab for everything, which was quite enough to make me dance for joy. Most games slot makeup and piercings altogether, but Eve not only lets you pick eyeshadow and lipstick separately, it even splits upper and lower ears. Every feature of the face has its own tab to modify.
Look to Eve is what I’d say to any game designer working on developing a new game. This is what character customization is all about. I’d still like more hairstyles and colors to choose from, but I’ll never be satisfied on that score, so that’s really not much of a detraction. And the best part? You can change your appearance in game, free of charge. I wouldn’t mind if they charged isk for that service. Beyond just looks, the depth of choices for skills and specializations is just amazing. I want to do everything. I’ve seen it said that it would take 28 years for someone to learn all the skills. That’s dedication.
Now, on to the tutorials, really. Luckily I was able to do a few prior to the revamp, so I have something to use to compare. Previously, when you entered the game, you were greeted by a soft feminine voice who welcomed you to Eve. Her name is Aura, and she is a constant companion in your head. Cheery thought, that. Who wouldn’t want the constant companionship of a blue glowing woman with a polite accent who delights in nothing more than holding your hand and leading you through the world?
But the problem with Ms. Aura’s teaching style is that she would hand you notes, and then lecture something else. So you’d be reading one thing, and hearing another. This combined with the vast complexity of Eve had one general result – confusion. I’ve heard this is the result of previous patches that updated the tutorial texts, but left the voice alone, but whatever the cause for it, it was very disorienting. I whole-heartedly agree with the decision to remove the voice. So the new tutorials can be read at your own pace now, with no distracting lectures. Now the confusion comes solely from the massive information overload, rather than a disconnect between eyes and ears.
The newly revamped tutorial runs you through the basics of just about everything there is to do in Eve – at least, so far as I’ve been able to tell thus far. When you first log in, you’re treated to a quick rundown of the basic controls, then shipped off to talk to 5 career agents – who are basically mission givers to teach you how to play the game. Each one represents a general area of the game – crafting, fighting, exploring, and playing the marketing game. They ran me through so much, and every time some element of the game appeared, Aura would pop up with a handy explanation and sometimes presents. Everything she has to say is paired with a glowing pointer, so it is easy to follow along. By the time I was finished with all the missions, I had earned several ships, about 3million isk (eve’s currency), a bunch of skills, and had a decent array of newb gear for my ship. Not too shabby. I’d also learned the basics of interacting with the UI, decided I liked salvaging and exploring, and been blown up a few times.
To anyone thinking about giving Eve a try, I will offer the following advice:
- Get a buddy invite. Even if you don’t know anyone who plays, there are plenty of friendly people at that link I just provided who will give them out, as well as pay you for the time if you subscribe. I contacted Kesson Daslef and he has helped me immensely. I’m willing to dish them out as well, but I can’t afford to offer up the enticements established players can, so all you’d get from me is the ability to troll about how much I suck. :)
- Read everything. If you mindlessly click next – you’ll regret it and wind up lost and confused. Many missions are nearly impossible to complete if you don’t read the mission text.
- Complete all of the tutorials. Not only do they give you a solid introduction to the game mechanics, but they give great rewards.
- If you’re confused, right click. It’s likely what you’re looking for will be provided by the almighty Right Click.
- Don’t take it too seriously! You will lose ships! You will get blown up, ransomed, hunted and otherwise beset by both players and NPCs alike! Never ever fly in anything you can’t afford to replace, possibly even several times over.
- And most importantly of all – trust no one. The most lucrative career path in Eve is stealing. :)